We hear from Kat Preston, who has two of her sculptures featured in the Manchester Open 2020 Exhibition. Watch our short video interview to see the inspiration behind Kat’s piece “Touch Me” and read her in depth interview below.
When did you first take up art? What’s your artistic background?
I have always made art. Just like every kid, I scribbled, doodled and pretended to be Neil Buchannan in my bedroom.
My work developed from this child’s play. I started to find forms that I liked within the scribbles and I still like to develop my work using that process. Starting drawing very loosely and pulling out forms that I like. It’s these forms that then become the basis of my sculptures.
I went to art school for only one year. I felt the art school experience was pushing me toward a conceptual response, but that isn’t really what I’m interested in. I’m fascinated by self-expression and requiring the skills to say what I want to say. Any concepts come later; emerging naturally out of my self-expression.
After art school, I moved to Manchester and began the process of learning how to turn my work from 2D into 3D dimensions. Making a drawing into a sculpture is like making it “alive”. It is very fulfilling.
How did you feel when you found out you had been chosen for the Manchester Open?
I was thrilled. To be part of an exhibition that showcases how Manchester is a real creative powerhouse of the north is fabulous.
This is also will be the first time I have exhibited any of my sculpture work. So, I am looking forward to seeing peoples response to the pieces ; and I hope other women identify with some of the things I am trying to say.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my experience of living inside my own body as a female. I attempt to embrace my own insecurities and to turn them into something powerful and beautiful.
What do you think art brings to your life?
Art, for me, is a cathartic process. It helps me to explore and understand my own feelings. And I love the continuous learning and improving with every piece you make.
Which artists do you admire?
I admire Louise Bourgeois. She was exploring themes of sexuality, the body and her own female point of view long before it was acceptable. I also admire Henry Moore for his sheer scale and ambition.
Tell us an interesting story about yourself and your work:
I once split up with a boyfriend after a drawing I made. I only realised I needed to leave after I saw what I had drawn.
This is the first region-wide exhibition of its type to welcome entries from people of any background and level of experience, including established professionals, new and emerging talent, enthusiastic amateurs and first-time artists.
Follow #mcropen2020 on all our platforms for sneak previews, artist Q&As and behind the scenes videos.